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Type N Thermocouple - technical Information



Type N - Nickel-Chromium-Silicon vs Nickel-Silicon, IEC 60584-1

Thermocouple Type N, was billed as the revolutionary replacement for the Type K thermocouple (the most common in industrial use), but without its drawbacks - Type N (Nicrosil-Nisil) exhibits a much greater resistance to oxidation-related drift at high temperatures than its rival, and to the other common instabilities of Type K in particular, but also the other base metal thermocouples to a degree. It can thus handle higher temperatures than Type K (1,280°C, and higher for short periods).

Basically, oxidation resistance is superior because of the combination of a higher level of chromium and silicon in the positive Nicrosil conductor. Similarly, a higher level of silicon and magnesium in the negative Nisil conductor form a protective diffusion barrier. The device also shows much improved repeatability in the 300°C to 500°C range where Type K’s stability is somewhat lacking (due to hysteresis induced by magnetic and/or structural inhomogeneities). High levels of chromium in the NP conductor and silicon in the NN conductor provide improved magnetic stability. Beyond this, it does not suffer other long term drift problems associated with transmutation of the high vapour pressure elements in mineral insulated thermocouple assemblies (mainly manganese and aluminium from the KN wire through the magnesium oxide insulant to the KP wire). Transmutation is virtually eliminated since the conductors contain only traces of manganese and aluminium. Finally, since manganese, aluminium and copper are not used in the NN conductor, stability against nuclear bombardment is much better.

Standardised in 1986 as BS EN 60584-1 Part 8 and subsequently published in IEC 60584, this relative newcomer to thermocouple thermometry has even been said to make all other base metal thermocouples (E, J, K and T) obsolete. Another claim by the more enthusiastic manufacturers and distributors is that it provides many of the rare metal thermocouple characteristics, but at base metal costs. In fact, up to a maximum continuous temperature of 1,280°C, depending on service conditions, it can be used in place of Type R and S thermocouples (which are between 10 and 20 times the price).

Although adoption of this sensor was slower than many anticipated, it is seeing ever greater use and this can only grow. There is now no doubt that it is indeed a fundamentally better thermocouple than its base metal rivals.

Type N Thermocouples - Typical Constructions and Styles

Type N Mineral Insulated
Thermocouples
Type N Thermocouples with Mineral InsulationRugged sensors, ideal for most applications. Vast choice of terminations e.g. pot seals, cables, connectors, heads etc.
Type N Thermocouples for use in Heat Treatment Applications Type N Thermocouples for heat TreatmentCalibrated thermocouples designed to meet the high quality and accuracies demanded for heat treatment applications within the Aerospace industry Type N Miniature
Thermocouples
Miniature Type N ThermocouplesIdeal for precision temperature measurements where minimal displacement and a fast response is required.
Type N Heavy Duty
Thermocouples
Type N Heavy Duty ThermocoupleFor industrial applications such as furnaces, kilns, ovens, boliers, flues etc. Many types of sheath material available.
General Purpose
Type N Thermocouples
General Use Type N ThermocouplesA wide range of thermocouples to suit many applications. Hand held, surface, bayonet, bolt, patch styles etc.
ATEX/IECEx Approved
Type N Thermocouples
ATEX approved Type N ThermocouplesA large range of thermocouples with a variety of terminations such as pot seal, terminal heads etc.

Type N - Technical Data

Conductor Combination Approximate generated
EMF change in µV
per ºC change
(referenced to 0ºC) at:
Approximate Working
Temperature Range
Thermocouple Output Tolerances
to IEC 60584-1
+ Leg - Leg 100ºC 500ºC 1000ºC Continuous Short Term Type Class 1 Class 2 Class 3
NICKEL - CHROMIUM -SILICON
Also known as: Nicrosil
NICKEL - SILICON - MAGNESIUM
Also known as: Nisil
30 38 39 0 to +1150ºC -270 to +1300ºC Temperature Range
Tolerance Value
Temperature Range
Tolerance Value
–40°C to +375°C
±1.5°C
375°C to 1000°C
±0.004⋅ [t]
–40°C to +333°C
±2.5°C
333°C to 1200°C
±0.0075⋅ [t]
–167°C to +40°C
±2.5°C
–200°C to –167°C
±0.015⋅ [t]
1. The tolerance is expressed either as a deviation in degrees Celsius or as a function of the actual temperature.
2. Thermocouple materials are normally supplied to meet the tolerances specified in the table for temperatures above –40 deg C. These materials however, may not fall within the tolerances for low temperatures given under Class 3 for Types T, E and K thermocouples. If thermocouples are required to meet limits of Class 3, as well as those of Class 1 and/or Class 2, the purchaser should state this, as selection of materials is usually required.

Cable Colour Codes for N Type Thermocouples

ANSI/MC96.1 IEC 60584-3 Redundant national colour coding for thermocouple cables
BS 1843DIN 43714NFC 42324
IEC60584-3 Type N Thermocouple
Free Guide to Thermocouple and Resistance Thermometry

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